Central Kansas Mental Health Center looking to future after grant in 2021

As a record number of people are seeking help for stress, depression and related mental health disorders, Central Kansas Mental Health Center (CKMHC) in Salina is expanding to meet the need.

In February of 2021 CKMHC was awarded a $4 million, two-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to implement the Certified Community Behavioral Clinic (CCBHC) model in the five counties it serves.

With the transition to this new model, funding will help CKMHC increase services and staffing to improve access, outcomes and quality of care.

The CCBHC model was established in 2017 and has since expanded to include 430 CCBHCs across 42 states. In April, Governor Laura Kelly signed House Bill 2208, establishing the CCBHC model as the standard in Kansas. CKMHC is one of six Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) in the state that received a CCBHC expansion grant in 2021.

Glenna Phillips, CCBHC director, is excited about the changes happening and looking forward to having a greater impact on the mental health of the community.

“The whole approach is incredibly person-centered. The goal is to cover all the bases of integrated care,” Phillips said. “This includes expanded care coordination with local primary care providers, hospitals, addiction service providers, social service providers, and law enforcement.”

One program already being implemented through the CCBHC grant is Same Day Access (SDA). Starting in June, SDA services connect new patients with a licensed clinician to develop and initiate an individualized treatment plan.

Patient Navigators will guide the patient through the process, and using a whole-person approach, help make sure that all needs are assessed, mental and physical. SDA services are evidence-based and proven to alleviate wait times and reduce missed appointments. Since June 800 new patients have successfully accessed services through this new model.

Samantha Vogan has been working as a Patient Navigator since the implementation of SDA.

“I have been a part of the program from the start and have watched it grow,” she said. “I get to regularly see CKMHC employees go above and beyond for our patients; by providing Same Day Access care we are given the opportunity to be extremely efficient in addressing patients’ needs.”

Patient Navigator Autumn Freidhof has also heard positive feedback from patients.

“I have had patients tell me that CKMHC is one of the most recommended places to go to start services for therapy," Freidhof said. "One patient was very appreciative that we were able to get her seen by her assigned therapist in the same week that she came in to start services.”

Same Day Access hours are noon to 3pm, Monday through Friday, at 809 Elmhurst Blvd. in Salina.

The CCBHC model will also support an expansion in crisis services. As part of that expansion, CKMHC hopes to establish a Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic in Salina, the first of its kind in the region.

“We all know where to go when we have a physical emergency, but where do we go when we are experiencing a mental health emergency?” said Kathy Mosher, executive director of CKMHC. “Although we have a 24-hour crisis line monitored by a licensed clinician, the Urgent Care Clinic will be a visible and accessible space that is open to the public in the same manner that a physical care clinic is. This will be a place where community members know they will receive crisis mental health care when they need it.”

As CKMHC continues to implement the CCBHC model the long-term benefits will include expanded services and access while addressing additional staffing needs.

The mission of CKMHC is to make life better in our communities by providing excellent mental health services, education and integrated care which exceeds patients’ expectations. Services are delivered based on medical necessity, regardless of age, race, color, national origin, disability or ability to pay. In addition to the main campus in Salina, satellite offices are located in Abilene, Ellsworth, Lincoln and Minneapolis.

This article originally appeared on Salina Journal: Central Kansas Mental Health Center looking to future after 2021